As a public relations major, I find it interesting to learn about how other countries use public relations and how it differs from a typical public relations job in the United States. I never thought that the Middle East would utilize PR the same way we do, but I found myself to be corrected through research.
A typical PR job in the United States consists of media relations, blogging, social media, event planning, analytic tracking and any other promotional tactics the client wants. A PR professional has the choice to work in a corporate or agency setting, agency being the most popular. A corporate job means that you work on the PR efforts of one company, whereas at an agency, you have many clients and assist each of them with their various PR needs. I’ve always wanted to work at an agency due to the flexibility and change in work every single day.
As I researched PR in the Middle East, I found that they have Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), which is similar to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). MERPA has over 100 agencies as members. Many of these are boutique, or small PR agencies working on specific projects, some include full service, large agencies and a few include regional offices within an international company. As a student who interned at two different boutique PR agencies in Pittsburgh, this immediately caught my eye. It’s so cool to see that many Middle Eastern PR professionals have the same interests that I do. It’s also interesting to see that agency PR is more popular, just as it is in the United States. PR doesn’t differ that much in other countries after all.
Most of the top ranked agencies have offices in the Middle East. For example, Ogilvy has decided to place 17 offices in Africa and the Middle East and Edelman has multiple there as well. They clearly see the profit in placing offices there, and many other agencies are following in their footsteps.
The Middle East is a rapidly growing market for the public relations industry. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to keep an eye out for jobs and partnerships with agencies in the Middle East. There’s a lot of potential that many Americans look past.
It’s amazing to see that the rest of the world needs PR just as much as the United States does. I challenge you to take a look at how your major and dream job are represented in other countries. You’ll be amazed at what you find.